Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Green Dot Corp. added a checking account feature to its popular GoBank alternative banking service. Green Dot said its new low-fee checking account is designed to help consumers more easily manage their finances without incurring costly overdraft fees that come with traditional checking/debit accounts. Green Dot cited research that said consumers typically pay approximately $218 to $314 per year for a basic checking account.
GoBank is available for purchase at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. outlets as a starter pack that comes with a temporary MasterCard Worldwide-branded prepaid debit card. Users are mailed permanent plastic payment cards, but most of the GoBank features are accessed via mobile devices. Green Dot touts the low fees, transparent fee structure and money management features of GoBank. The accounts are managed by Green Dot, with the cards issued by Utah-based Green Dot Bank.
GoBank, launched in June 2013, is marketed as a reinvention of the traditional checking account. Among the features of GoBank is the ability to access account balances (reportedly the most common mobile banking behavior) without having to log in to accounts, and Fortune Teller, a budgeting tool of the companion mobile app that alerts users when purchases are not affordable within the parameters of available balances.
"'Fortune Teller' crosschecks the price of an item with a customer's planned income and expenses, and if they can't afford it, they'll be advised in real-time to pass on the purchase," Green Dot said.
Another GoBank feature is Money Vault, which operates as an alternative savings account. Users can deposit funds to Money Vault, with those funds being Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. insured. Users can also, in real-time, transfer funds from Money Vault to their active prepaid debit card accounts.
GoBank also offers direct deposit for payroll, as well as a person-to-person money transfer feature. Green Dot said the checking account service will be available nationwide by the end of October 2014.
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